I got my first Agatsu kettlebell for Christmas in 2008. It is still the only Agatsu bell I have, but that is only because it was a monster of a 48 kilo bell and I had rounded out my set. My mom bought it for me. I had heard of the brand, but knew nothing about besides the fact that the company was from Canada and offered its own kettlebell certifications.
But I loved the way it looked and I was even more excited that I had hit this milestone: I was finally strong enough to start playing with a 106 lb hunk of iron, swinging it through the air at speed. My only apprehension stemmed from the fact that I knew a bunch of kettlebell snobs who would cry and moan about anything that wasn’t a Dragondoor RKC bell. I was actually going to be certified as an RKC a few months later (I went, but will happily be letting my cert expire in 2011), but I was happy to try out other bells.
The Agatsu was great. The coating is very smooth and the appearance is seamless compared to other bells I have used. It really looks like a novelty-size bowling ball with a handle on it. When I first got it out there were no divets, dings, chips, or texture to speak of. Just smooth and heavy.
This changed. (The smoothness, not the heaviness). If mine is any indication, Agatsu kettlebells chip easily. The coating is about as durable as an M&M candy, but I personally don’t care a bit. I don’t need my bells to look new and fancy. I need them to look used and loved, which they are. But if you’re looking for a kettlebell that will maintain its pristine, brand-new look for very long, my experience with the Agatsu beast doesn’t paint a rosy outlook. But again, I just don’t care how my kettlebells look. I care about whether they work.
And so far, despite all the hype across all the brands, they all feel pretty much the same to me. They are all subject to the laws of gravity and they’ll all help you get stronger and lost fat is that’s what you’re after, assuming you’re willing to put in the time.
If you’re looking for a broader kettlebell comparison post, that link will take you to my big fat kb manifesto, and it mentions all the brands I have experience with. I love the Agatsu kb, but no more or less than any of the others I have used.